MATTHEW WOOD’S return to Honley has given skipper Rob Moore a welcome headache ahead of the new season.
For the League champions are now blessed with an abundance of opening batsmen.
The likelihood is that former county man Wood will fill one of the opening slots, but that leaves Moore having to juggle several options, while keeping them all happy!
Ex-Lascelles Hall opening batter Mike Fraine joined Honley in the last quarter of the season to compensate for the loss of John Greaves, who missed almost half of the 2008 campaign after snapping an achilles tendon.
But Greaves is now racing to be ready for the start of this season, while Moore also has regular opener Simon Kelly and another former top-order man Danny Howard to balance into the equation.
“Greavesie’s now doing gentle jogging, so we are hopeful he’s going to be fit for the start, in what will be a difficult opening for us,” said Moore.
“First up, we have Elland, who are always strong, and that is followed by an away trip to Delph & Dobcross, so we need to hit the ground running this season.”
Honley have had a habit in the last few seasons of giving everyone else a start after slipping up early on.
In 2006 they lost to Skelmanthorpe and Delph in the first and third games of their League programme, while in 2007 they lost to Shelley in the opener, and last season crashed out of the Sykes Cup at the first hurdle to eventual winners Barkisland in the third match, before losing to Shepley in game four.
So Moore will be hoping Wood can help reverse that trend and get the Far End Lane men off to a winning start.
Woody should slot into the side easily having played with most of the side over a six-year spell at the club, having first joined them in 2001, although his county commitments restricted his appearances.
Although 2006 marked Wood’s biggest contribution at Honley, he will also be remembered for scoring tons against Delph & Dobcross and Slaithwaite in 2001 and against Clayton West in 2004, when he also had a couple of four-wicket returns with his occasional ‘tweakers.’
In 2007 he had a season at Emley Clarence, where he actually began his career as a junior. It was the first time his home-village club had been in the Drakes Premiership, and with his help and that of Bilal Khiljee, it was enough to keep Emley in the top flight. But having been released by Yorkshire at the end of that summer, Wood signed a two-year deal with Glamorgan.
However, he is now back in the Drakes League, and his capture is sure to make Honley once again one of the big favourites to extend their already record run of title-winning seasons.